A thematic double-issue (2.2-3) of the journal Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds has just appeared (despite the cover date of 2006!). It focuses on the social functions of scriptures and features several articles specifically about iconic books. These ideas inform the rationale for this blog, since I edited the special issue and all the blog contributors wrote articles in it. The articles are therefore worth summarizing here to provide readers with a theoretical and comparative framework for the observations that regularly appear in this space. I think each article justifies a separate post:
Parmenter, "The Iconic Book"
Watts, "The Three Dimensions of Scriptures"
Malley, "The Bible in British Folklore"
Krause-Loner, "Be-Witching Scripture"
Waldron compares Homer with Tanakh
Heyman, "Canon Law and the Canon of Scripture"
Pasulka, "Pre-Modern Scriptures in Postmodern Times"
Yoo on Korean Scripture Reading Rituals
Castelli, on Horne's "The Tailenders"
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)